Monday, April 30, 2012

Our Keurig

One of the first wedding gifts we received was from Johnny's good friend, Scott and his family. They generously got us the Keurig coffee maker from our registry, and we could not be more thrilled. We might have even broken a Miss Manner's rule and set this bad boy up and started using him before the big day! (shhh)

Johnny and I both like coffee, but we're not huge drinkers. We don't need it to start our day, or every day for that matter. If we make it, it's usually just 1 or 2 cups, and we enjoy a wide variety of flavors. I wish I had a picture of our old "coffee and tea" cabinet from the house in Illinois. Literally, it was an entire cabinet devoted solely to coffee and tea. There were bags and bags of caffeinated, decaffeinated, mild roast, dark roast, flavored, seasonal offerings- you name it!

That's why I thought the Keurig would be perfect for us. It heats up in a few minutes and is ready to make individual cups of coffee in a few seconds. Instead of a cabinet with a gazillion opened, half-used bags of coffee, we could just select different K-cups based on our mood.

Which brings me to the next awesome wedding gift we got, from a family friend, Arlene! After the wedding as a congratulations/house warming gift she got us the K-cup holder we had registered for! It matches the Keurig machine perfectly and holds many cups, so you can rotate and pick your favorite flavor to brew!

Do any of you have a Keurig machine? If so, what is your favorite K-cup flavor?? I'm currently loving Dark Magic because of it's boldness and Jamaican Me Crazy for it's unique, but subtle flavor.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Bites

It was past midnight. I was mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest (follow me!) on my phone, while laying in bed. Then I saw these and stopped dead in my tracks. It took me less than 30 seconds to get out of bed, put my shoes on, throw open the fridge and start making these. No exaggeration. I was like a tornado in the kitchen on a mission. I even dropped a 10" chef knife on the floor (jump back!) in the process. The only thought in my brain was "must make these fast, so they bake fast, so I can shove them in my face fast."

Original recipe can be found here. I had to alter it based on starting the recipe without checking all my ingredients first (because I was trying to make it as fast as humanly possible).

~3 cups broccoli florets, washed and cut in small pieces
~1.5 cups shredded cheese of choice (I used extra sharp cheddar)
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed (I used reduced fat)

Preheat oven to 375°. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, using your hands to mix thoroughly. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and roll the mixture into golf ball sized portions, spacing them evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through. Makes about 30.

Try to let cool a few minutes before chowing down, otherwise you might burn the roof of your mouth! (ow.)

These were so good, which I'm excited about. I feel like the possibilities are endless- you could make with any fresh veggie on hand - spinach, beans, corn. You could use different cheeses or spices each time, too.

They'd be great as an appetizer or finger food while entertaining, or even as a side for dinner. They kept well and reheated nicely in the toaster oven. The second time I ate them I dipped them in low fat sour cream.

Johnny even enjoyed a few. Except he hates to get his hands dirty and greasy (computer geek phobia, having to work with keyboards and all...) so he used the tongs from flipping them. I thought it was funny when I turned around, especially since by now it was like 1am and we're both in the kitchen snacking away.

Annnnnnd, thank you for being patient-- the winner of the $25 Wal*Mart gift card was comment #21, Wendy from The Coupon Queen! Congratulations! Please send your mailing address to christina (at) dinneratchristinas (dot) com and it'll be on it's way! Thanks for playing everybody! Glad to see I'm not the only one who loves her sugary kid's cereal!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cereal and Yogurt Parfait (Giveaway Post)

Hello everybody! I have a special treat to share with you and a chance to win a $25 Wal*Mart gift card, so stay tuned for the information at the bottom of this post!

Pillsbury has created a new site,, which showcases over 100 recipes chosen from recipe contest finalists across the country. I was asked to peruse the site and choose a recipe to share with you, and I chose a simple, low-fat dessert.

Of course I changed it up, but the original recipe can be found here.

2 cups Cheerios cereal (I used the new peanut butter kind!)
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp water
2 tsp butter, melted
whipped topping of choice
2 containers Yoplait fat free yogurt (I used Boston cream pie mmm)

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large zip bag, using a rolling pin, crush your cereal to resemble a coarse crumb. Add the sugar, water, and melted butter to the bag and reseal. Move everything around until it's fully incorporated and moistened.

Grease a baking sheet and pour the cereal mixture in the center. Lay a piece of wax paper over the top and use your rolling pin to roll the mixture out to about 1/8" thickness. Pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until browned. Watch closely, the edges can start to burn quickly near the end. Remove from oven and let cool, then crumble.

In a pretty glass, layer cereal crumbles, Yoplait yogurt, and whipped topping. Garnish the top with a few extra cereal crumbles. Enjoy!

This was really, really good. A nice after-dinner snack for me when I made it. My favorite part, by far, was the Cheerio crumble. After baking, it got nutty and crunchy and delicious. I'd love to make a pie crust or experiment more with other cereals.

Ok, now for the fun part! I have another $25 Wal*Mart gift card to give to a lucky Dinner at Christina's reader. Giveaway will end Monday, April 23rd at midnight. I'll announce the winner on Tuesday, April 24th.


To enter, just leave a comment answering: What is your favorite cereal!? 

Mine is a toss-up between Golden Grahams and Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch. We always have both on hand. We also usually have Lucky Charms or Froot Loops too! What can I say? We like sugary kids cereal more than the healthy, bland stuff!

Giveaway packaged provided by MyBlogSpark, General Mills, and Wal*Mart. The opinions, photos, and recipe adaption are my own.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Don't adjust your computer screens. This really is a new recipe with photos being posted to my blog.

It's been a long, long time, hasn't it!?

But I am so happy to have a kitchen. My pots and pans. A reliable stove/oven. My utensils. My gadgets. And a fridge that doesn't freeze everything. It all makes cooking so much easier and FUN!

I had company visit for Easter break, and while here, we went to our local fruit stand. My God daughter fell in love with teeny bell peppers, so I let her pick out a few so I could stuff them. She liked the yellow ones, so that's what we went with- feel free to use your color of choice.

3 cups cooked quinoa
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 head of broccoli
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
~1 cup frozen spinach
salt, pepper, Italian seasoning to taste
5-8 bell peppers (depending on size, mine were very small lemon-sized ones)

Begin by cooking the quinoa. I cooked mine in vegetable broth. While this is simmering away, prepare the rest of the vegetables by cleaning, chopping, and adding together in a large mixing bowl. Add the beans and the quinoa, stirring everything until combined. Season with salt and pepper, adjusting to taste.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Half and gut the bell peppers, placing in a large baking dish. Scoop heaping spoonfuls of the filling into each pepper, finishing with a generous sprinkle of Italian seasoning.

Cover the dish with foil and bake approximately 30 minutes, until peppers and vegetables are tender. Reheats well. Also tasty at room temperature!

(Please excuse the photos, I didn't realize until I uploaded them that I changed my camera settings to take small format photos, instead of the usual high resolution ones.)

So, what has everybody been up to!? I try to check in on your blogs, but did I miss anything IMPORTANT you want to tell me about!?

Monday, April 2, 2012

First Dinner!

Hi all!

If you are friends with me on Facebook you will know that the past week has been crazy with us moving into the new house and finally having all of our stuff after 10 months in 2 storage units.

Overwhelming is an understatement.

My mom has been a huge, huge help the past few days helping me unpack, clean, and organize the new kitchen. It's still a total mess, so I'll show you photos in upcoming posts.

But, for now, I just wanted to share our first dinner "officially" cooked in the new house.

A pot roast with all the fixings.

I'm ashamed to say it has been a very, very long time since I really cooked. We moved around 3 times in 6 months, got married, and were house hunting. I didn't have any of my kitchen stuff, and in the last rental house we were living in, the fridge froze everything. And I don't mean a thin sheet of ice on top of a pitcher of juice. I mean, solid frozen ice.

There's been lots of take-out. Lots of eating out. Lots of frozen meals (with the freezing fridge and all..). Barely any grocery shopping, no cooking, and no creativity.

I'm very, very excited to have a beautiful, huge, new kitchen to show you guys and get creative in again. Thanks for hanging in all these months!